The Do’s and Don’ts of Elimination Diets

Elimination diets are not diets that you use for weight loss and are not meant to be followed long-term. Instead, they remove certain types of foods from your diet that might be triggering physical symptoms, such as from IBS or gluten intolerance, for you to add them then back one at a time to figure out what foods are causing the issues.

Here are some do’s and don’ts of elimination diets so you can be sure you benefit from them and find your problem foods the right way.

Don’t Try to Do More Than One at a Time

Elimination diets are not meant to be combined with other diets or elimination diets. If you aren’t sure whether you should do Whole30 or the Low FODMAP diet, do not try to do them both! Start with the one that seems most relevant to what you are experiencing, go through the entire process, and wait a while before you attempt anything else.

Do Consider Your Actual Reasons

Make sure you are trying the elimination diet for the right reason, such as a medical reason. Elimination diets are not meant to be a way to lose weight, but instead to figure out what foods are causing you issues. You really should only do this type of diet if your doctor recommended it or if you have ongoing issues with your gut or other medical issues and you can’t figure out the source.

Don’t Be More Restrictive Than Necessary

You also don’t want to be more restrictive than what the elimination diet recommends. This means putting aside calorie and macro counting, for now, so you are just focused on what foods you can and can’t eat. If you have been on the path to lose weight, it helps take a break from that temporarily just while you go through the elimination diet phase. It is tough to cut foods out while also trying to eat less and focus on weight loss.

Do Follow the Plan as Intended

Read the rules and guidelines of the elimination diet thoroughly to ensure you get it right the first time. Most elimination diets remove the problem foods for a short period, usually 2-4 weeks. Then, there is the reintroduction phase, where you start reintroducing the foods one at a time, note how you feel, and then move on to the next food if it gives you any reactions.

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